Posted by: Tracy | 2011 January 20

Home-made Liquid Laundry Soap

I got an old liquid detergent container from my mom.
I bought a Home Depot 5 gallon bucket and lid for $3.50.
Then went to Winco for the rest of the ingredients.
Borax:$4.00 (which I had on hand already)
Fels-Naptha Soap Bar:$1.05
Arms & Hammer Super Washing Soda: $2.50
The cool part is you will have enough for few more batches later the only thing you would have to buy is the Fels-Naptha Soap Bar since you use the whole thing, the rest you will extras.
I didn’t add any essential oils to this and it seems to be okay.  It doesn’t have any smell on the clothes but they do feel clean.
I will add the link to where I got this from as well.  My friend has some good recipes for other stuff as well.

Home-made liquid laundry soap

4  Cups – hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax 

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” – in some stores or may be purchased online here(at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must besodium carbonate!!

Posted by: berencamlost | 2010 November 13

To Die For Country Gravy

For the last couple years I’ve been toying around with gravy recipes, as biscuits and gravy are my favorite food.  After some wonderful tips from my buddy Mike, I’ve finally got a gravy recipe that is so sinfully rich that it will make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.  So, without further adieu, here it is:

  • 1 lb of sausage
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 Pint whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 pints of milk
  • a pinch of Sage
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the sausage with the garlic, then add the flour, salt, pepper and sage.  Pour in the whipping cream and the milk and cook over medium heat stirring constantly.  Keep stirring until the gravy reaches the desired thickness.

Pour over your favorite biscuits and enjoy!

Posted by: berencamlost | 2010 March 16

Almost there…

With semester number two wrapping up, I’m almost done with my schooling.  By June I will be done!  Bachelors degree and I’ll be able to test for my CCNA.  So relieved this quarter is almost done.

Had a tough time with my writing class.  The work wasn’t challenging at all, it was the professor and the way she put together the class.  Generally, when I take a writing class I want to learn how to write, not become an agent for political change.  The Obama change Kool-Aid ran deep with that one!

Posted by: Tracy | 2010 February 23

Busy Family

Here is a quick update on the family.

Brett is into the winter term of college.  He is doing quite well for having a busy family; he got on the President’s List for the fall term.  I am so proud of him.

Tanisha is doing well in school as well.  Pretty soon she will be forecasting for high school, that is a scary thought.  I am not ready for her to go to high school yet.

Katelyn is doing a lot better in school.  The school is running some extra test to try to help her better since she is behind academically.  She is finally enjoying going to school and wants to be there.  That is an answer to prayers.

Angelique is doing well in school as well.  She loves going to school.

Greggory is a handful.  He likes to get into everything that isn’t suppose to be getting into.  I never get a break for a second especially since he doesn’t take naps anymore.  He is a delight at the same time.  He is talking a lot more and be such a goof ball at times.

Josiah is almost 2 years old.  I can’t believe my baby is becoming not a baby anymore.  He may sure look like he is.  He still doesn’t have much hair and is on the short side but he can keep up with Greggory.  He is getting in just as much as Greggory does, so I have double the trouble for most of the day.  He is talking some what, I love here when he does talk.  I love his precious smile.

Me (Tracy) has her hands full trying to keep up with everyone.  Brett is at school 5 days a week this term, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I get the kids to myself.  Those are my rough days trying to keep up.  I have been doing a lot of Bible reading, I am trying to read the whole Bible in a year, just finished a study on the book of James and doing a study on Philippians as well.   I am really enjoying all the things I have learned, it has helped me.

Well that is a quick update on the family.  Hopefully we will do a little better job in keeping this up.

Posted by: berencamlost | 2009 December 24

A Christmas Eve Service

Mary with baby Jesus

Mary with baby Jesus

Our church normally puts on a Christmas Eve service.  However, this year the church wasn’t going to put one on.  Knowing how important this is to our family and other families, we decided to organize a service.

Last year we did a family service, due to snow canceling the regular church service, so we had a skeleton to work from.  From there, we put together a song list, a powerpoint, and finally a narration to be read about the birth of Jesus.  We recruited some musical talent, as that is something Tracy and I are lacking in, and we had our Christmas Eve service under way.

Tonight we got to the church early, got everything ready, and waited for our talent to show up.  They arrived early, we had a small rehearsal, and then it was time.  We had no idea who would show up, but several other families did show up.

We sang all the familiar Christmas songs, listened to me and my brother in law Jeremy narrate my version of the Christmas story, and had a nice, short, casual service.

Thanks to Bake and Dave for the musical talent.  Thanks for Jeremy for narrating.  And thanks to all who showed up.

If anyone is interested in the actual Read More…

Posted by: berencamlost | 2009 September 24

College Shortcomings

I was working on some items yesterday for Unemployment Training reimbursement, figuring out finances and the like, and came to the realization that I’m extremely short on funds to finish all the college courses I want to take.  Short to the tune of over $6000.

Now, my first reaction was, of course, to panic.  How the heck am I going to pay for this?!?!?!  But, after some reflection, I realized that God has brought me here for a reason, and He is more than sufficient to provide.  So, I spent a few minutes in prayer, laid this need down before His feet, and did our grocery shopping.

Working through my options, I realize that the Unemployment Training is one option.  I have no idea if I can even get any money from them, but I will pursue it nonetheless.  I can check into scholarships as well, to see if there’s one for a poor, short, fat, nerdy white guy with lots of kids.  I can also lay this before my brothers and sisters in Christ.

So, if you are a believer, please pray that God will provide for our family, both for school and for all the miscellaneous expenses that will come up.  I know that $6000 is nothing in the sight of God.  I know He can cause that money to fall out of the sky if He so desired.  But, I also know He wants me to trust Him and wants me to wait on Him and trust Him, which of course means He will drag the provision out to test me.  I do not want to take any loans out, as I’ve been working on getting out of debt for years (having paid off my old student loans several years ago.)  So, please pray for us.

Posted by: berencamlost | 2009 September 18

Life Changes- College at 39

Having been unemployed since July 1st, I’ve been frantically looking for work and finding no one is hiring me.  Not that I don’t have any experience or anything to offer, it’s just a tough job market.  Given that it’s tough, I’ve been looking into ways to make myself more employable.  And what better way to make myself more employable than to get some IT certifications.

In the past, I’ve tried the self study method.  Problem is, that method assumes you won’t be constantly interrupted by screaming kids, fights, barfing, and a wife who wants to spend time with you.  Taking classes is a much better way, as you can get away and focus.  So, with that in mind, I began exploring some of the CCNA certification courses in the area.

After much web searching and a trip to the unemployment office to find out what providers they can help pay for, I narrowed my options down to 2:  Heald College and PCC.

The folks at Heald were very friendly and not pushy (which I was expecting).  The gal in recruitment said she probably wouldn’t be able to answer my questions, so she called the director of IT and arranged for me to meet him.  My meeting with him was excellent; this guy was an IT pro, and he was heavily involved with the Cisco training in the whole Northwest.  His advice to me was this:  To be employable, I need experience, education, and certifications.

I have experience, don’t have a degree, and only have one certification.

This changed my thinking dramatically.  If I have several months I can make it on unemployment (albeit barely), I should take advantage of this time and finish a degree and get some certs.  Heald’s program does gear you towards that path, but I wanted to check out another school that I knew was more widely recognized.

Portland Community College:  A massive, sprawling institution with 4 campuses across the greater Portland/Metro area.  Information from them was widely available on the web.  They even have Associates degrees in Computer Information Systems.  So, I began the quest to see what they can offer.  Talking with someone in person was quite problematic, since it was getting close to classes starting.  I applied for the school, was accepted, and got my transcripts ordered.  Then I went to speak with an advisor.

The advisor wasn’t really much help, however, since she was a generalist and I had some very specific questions on the programs and which direction I needed to take.  She did give me an email address for the department advisor, and that person actually responded to my emails.

Now, this process has taken several weeks, and I’ve been really wrestling with how to make this happen and which direction I should go.  Should I go for the Associates?  Should I take the certification path?  Should I try to squeeze my Multnomah University credits in and finish my degree from there (I’m only 21 semester credits away from a Bachelors there).  And, how is school going to look with my chaotic life?

Well, I still have questions.  I know I’m getting a Pell grant, but I have no idea when they’re going to pay out.  I can get extra assistance through Unemployment, but have to jump through all their hoops to do it.  Life will still go on, and that means unforseen expenses, which I have no idea how we’re going to pay for.  And, to take my certification exams will cost money as well, ranging from $150 to $300 an exam, depending on which one I take.

But, between the chaotic and tumultuous moments, I’ve been asking God to direct me, and asking for strength.  I can’t do this on my own.  Tracy can’t do this without God’s help, either.  This is a big unknown, and that scares her.  I’m going to be too darn busy to think about it, as classes start Tuesday (12 credits in general ed and roughly another 12 in non-credit classes geared for IT certifications.)  I also have no idea what textbooks I need or how much they’ll cost.

So, pray for us.  I need direction, and Tracy needs reassurance.  I hope I can handle this, my track record at being a student hasn’t been that great.  But, this time, I know I can’t screw around.  This is my future and my family’s future, and I need to make the most of it.

Posted by: Tracy | 2009 June 13

10 years of Marriage

Brett and I have been married for 10 years as of June 12th, 2009.  Time has flown by so fast, I can’t believe it has been that long.  We have shared lots of laughs, smiles and tears together.  God has kept us together through those rough times and we have grown closer because of them.  God has provided many memories and precious gifts for us that we are so grateful to Him.


Posted by: Tracy | 2009 June 11

Katelyn turns 8

Happy Birthday to Katelyn!

Katelyn newborn katelyn 1 katelyn 2 Katelyn 3 Katelyn 4 Katelyn 5100_3947 100_2562

Posted by: berencamlost | 2009 April 16

Looking for Work

My employer just announced some layoffs and hours reductions, and as the good Lord would have it, I am one of the people being laid off.

I have until June 30th to find some other work.  So, if any of you know of any IT related work, let me know.  I would appreciate any leads at this time.  And, I would also covet your prayers, too.


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